Annual Report

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ELC employs the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Strengthening Families (SF) Framework. SF is a research-informed approach that increases family strengths, enhances child development and reduces the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. It engages families, programs and communities to develop competencies in protective factors. All ELC service staff are certifed in the Standards.

Focused on supporting not only the children but also their parents, the Parent Café model prevents abuse and neglect by building social capital while getting peer support and input. Parents create and lead their own 8-session formalized support circles. Cafés convene supportive peers with the support of a former ELC parent, who receives a small stipend, and the Parent Café Facilitator, a former ELC parent employed by the YWCA.

Leadership in Strengthening Families:

The YWCA has a leadership role in the National Family Support Network (NFSN) initiative in the Cleveland area and is an active contributor to the Network, which promotes the Strengthening Families approach. Teresa Sanders, chief program officer, was selected by Saint Luke’s Foundation of Cleveland to be trained as one of two members of the only NFSN training team in the state. We partner with Family Connections and the National Network on this team, which is tasked with developing a local community of practice around Strengthening Families and expanding the community across the state.


In keeping with our commitment to provide the highest-quality, two-generational, trauma-informed, early childhood education, the YWCA has embarked on a project to enhance our Early Learning Center (ELC) with an Outdoor Learning Center (OLC). Recent studies show that outdoor classrooms are a healthy addition to educational programs, and many private and public schools are adding such classrooms to their facilities. The vulnerable children served by ELC are in more need than most children of educational support and the benefits of top-notch educational tools.


Independence Place provides residents ages 18–24 with a safe and secure place to live and receive supportive services. Independence Place housed 26 residents in 2017, with the majority of those residents having a history of prior involvement with the foster care system.

Our Nurturing Independence and Aspirations services provide individualized support and resources to our young adults, both living in Independence Place and in the community. With the guidance of a Life Coach, our participants are able to focus on education, employment opportunities, housing, life skill development and the importance of health care.

Of the 48 participants, 81% successfully exited. The chart below represents their destinations.


YWCA Greater Cleveland leads a countywide collaboration of organizations that are continuously working to improve the outcomes for youth aging out of foster care through prioritizing prevention and the alignment of systems for a more coordinated response overall. Of the 546 youth assessed as homeless between September 2016 and October 2017, A Place for Me supported 346 youth in obtaining permanent housing.

0% of Independence Place tenants

returned to homelessness in 2017, an improvement from the 4% in 2016.

67% of exits

were to subsidized housing, while 23% went on to market housing, meaning they pay their rent on their own.

47.8% of youth were housed through Rapid Re-Housing (RRH),

which provides security deposit, four months of rental assistance and case management to prepare youth for maintaining their apartments after rental assistance ends.

On October 3, 2017, over 600 guests gathered at the Cleveland Museum of Art for YWCA Greater Cleveland’s Circle event. Traditionally a breakfast, Circle changed its model in 2017, moving to a reception-style networking event. Honorary Chair Savannah James and Keynote Speaker Leigh Anne Tuohy took the event to another level, leading to our highest Circle attendance and revenue to date.



Service providers, social workers, police officers and community members gathered for YWCA Greater Cleveland’s Step In Conference in September 2017. Focusing on the proper way to interact with and support LGBTQ youth, this two-day conference offered presentations and breakout sessions—such as Queer Youth in Detention, Foster Care and Residential Care—led by subject matter experts. According to our survey results, over 88% of participants felt that they could return to their agencies with specific action steps to create a competent environment that engages and supports LGBTQ youth and young adults as allies.